Firstly, you need to have a drive towards your goal. This can be done by reading a lot about the people of the past and how they were with ilm and getting things done.
Secondly, making lots of du’a. Du’a should never be looked down upon or belittled.
Thirdly, making a plan.
Planning is extremely important, and it’s known that the Prophet (saw) would plan.
Try to plan daily targets (using a diary, your phone or even a loose piece of paper) of what you need to accomplish of the dunya and deen things; revising or going to the bank.
- I want to memorise the whole Qur’an in one month (too much)
- I want to memorise a few Ayaats in a few months (too little)
- I want to memorise one ayaat a day (a perfect amount as it is small and consistent).
Try to plan targets for Ramadaan from today. These can be started now such as increasing the amount of Qur’an you read in a day, the amount of salaah you pray in Musjid, getting up earlier for Qiyaam ul Layl.
Pitfalls in planning:
- Too much or too little
- Relaxing too much
- Not preparing for things that could potentionally go wrong
- Not stopping, checking and evaluating your targets and asking questions such as how is my plan going? What could be improved?
Ibn al Jawzi (rh) mentioned that he read over 20,000 books, would finish the Qur’an every week and would advise his son to pray two Juz a night for Qiyaam ul Layl. Over 100,000 repented due to his reminders and sermons.
He would say that he wanted to master every Islamic science and write over a thousand books, according to Ibn Taymiyyah (rh).
Just because we are praying and doing good today doesn’t mean we will be praying and doing good in the future. For example, those that were doing da’wah 10 years ago, few have survived. People that were once practicing, now no longer practice or no longer seek ilm (knowledge).
Especially those that aren’t married and aren’t working full time, these things will eat into a person’s life so they need to always be sharp and make the most of their time. They need to realise that life isn’t always the same and to be prepared for challenges.
Don’t make money your goal. Saving up for the sole purpose of this life, for example, having your own house and so on is designed to take a person away from the remembrance of Allah.
It’s important to work but balance is also important. And what do most people do with their money? Build great projects for their akhirah? Or save and save and save and then…?
Think carefully. We will be asked about every moment so use it in the obedience of Allah as much as possible. Do what you need to financially without it being at the expense of getting closer to Allah. We can’t read a juz (chapter) of the Qur’an a day but we can do extra hours preparation at home for work.
Some of the people of the past would say that if someone seeks something, working hard and with sincerity, he will obtain it and if not all of it then at least some of it.
A sheikh mentioned that a person who doesn’t get used to going through things again and again, will never be able to learn new things.
If your goal is to understand, to draw closer to Allah, then you shouldn’t worry about which books you have been through, or how many, or that people know how much you’ve studied, or you have certificates or you’ve been through a book once.
Make your goals to seek the pleasure of Allah and then to remove ignorance. Don’t worry about what people think.
The Prophet (saw) said in Bukhaari, when you ask for Jannah ask for firdaws. What can we learn from this?
The du’a shows having lofty aspirations! So we need to have high goals in our lives too! And it shows being specific! So be specific in your goals and du’as.
Umar (ra) said he would see someone that amazes him, and then he would ask that person if he has a goal, is he doing something, and he said he doesn’t have one so Umar (ra) said he falls in my sight.
What are you leaving behind when you leave this dunya? What will your legacy be? How will your rank be raised?
The first step is having a goal and finding a role model. If we’ve never thought of a legacy then we are far away from the people of the past that we claim to follow.
This is what is meant by not giving the dunya too much importance.
When have we ever read the people of the past said we want to memorise Qur’an as our lofty goal? Umar bin Abdul Aziz (ra) would say he wanted to be the leader of the Muslim ummah! And he got it.
As Muslims, we have become very narrow minded and have set very basic goals, which although noble in and of themselves, were never the goals of the people of the past such as learning Arabic, memorising the Qur’an and so on. These were things which were taken as a given in their times.
Rather they would set lofty goals which would benefit the Ummah and leave a great legacy such as Umar bin Abdul Aziz (ra) who was asked, what do you wish for? He said, I wanted to be a governor and became one, I wanted to marry a caliph’s daughter and I did and I want to become the caliph, and he did!! We don’t need to aspire for his goals, but we need to think what we can do for our Hereafter! Rather than just lining up our pockets and just completing our obligations and that’s it!!